“At the Safe and Legal Exhibition in the Pierhead this lunchtime I was shocked to learn that 50 years after the 1967 Abortion Act women are still facing unacceptable delays to obtain an abortion”, said Jenny Rathbone, AM for Cardiff Central.
Vivienne Rose, Manager of Cardiff’s British Pregnancy Advice Service(BPAS) explained that women are being barred from accessing a timely abortion because they are being told they have to get referred by their GP who may or may not be sympathetic to a woman’s right to choose whether to continue their pregnancy.
Jenny Rathbone said “Typically this means a 7 or 8 weeks delay before they get to see the right people, by which time it is too late to have a medical abortion which is cheaper and much less invasive than a surgical one. It is costing the NHS more money and causing women unnecessary psychological pain.”
Jane Hutt AM(Vale of Glamorgan), Julie Morgan AM(Cardiff North) and Siân Gwenllian AM (Arfon) all spoke at the event which was sponsored and chaired by Jenny Rathbone AM.
Jenny Rathbone said: “It is also disturbing to hear that only in Gwent are women getting timely NHS referrals to BPAS if NHS clinics are over-booked. Across Wales, only 52% of women cared for by BPAS are funded by the NHS. This compares with 98.9% across the UK. Too many Welsh women are having to pay £600 to get an abortion. That includes students and others who are having to take out loans to get the service they need and are entitled to.
“I raised this in the Senedd this afternoon and I’m pleased that the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Vaughan Gething, has agreed to see me and my colleagues to discuss what action needs to be taken to address these unacceptable inequalities in access to an abortion.”